Chocolate Art Perfection: Patrick Roger

imageIt happened today. I had the most delicious chocolate pralinés in the world. It was the first time I tasted one of the incredibly exquisite creations of French chocolatier and artist, Patrick Roger. So I am not exaggerating, he has indeed continuously been named as one of the best chocolatiers in the world, and in addition to producing mouthwatering, distinctively tasty chocolate he uses chocolate also as the material for his art sculptures. If you want to see and taste his creations yourself, you can find his store in Grand Sablon, Brussels or on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris.

Que le chocolat vous inspire

(On the photo you can see the pralinés amazone, sauvage, noir mistral and noir sudashi. My favourite was  sauvage, the greyish one, filled with a yuzu, verbena and lemongrass ganache).

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Comfort food expedition: Mac and Cheese Muffins

image1 (2)The other week an instagram food pic caught my attention: Mac and cheese muffins it was. Superpopular in the US, Mac and cheese is not really so common in continental Europe, and to be honest I could not really be bothered so far. However, although not a foodie I noticed that there is a certain trend now towards preparing dishes in cups; and therefore why not also do it with mac’n’cheese? It seemed like a fun dish, so I went ahead and tried it the other day. Funny enough, after telling one of my friends living in Sydney about it, she mentioned that typically American comfort food such as mac’n’cheese was booming in Australia. I thought this was interesting since all you hear and read about these days seems to be vegan, organic and gluten-free food. Perhaps, since we are now generally eating so much healthier, we enjoy and crave some good old comfort food even more occasionally?

If you would like to try them too, I used the recipe on allrecipes.com. The recipe is for 12 cups (one average muffin tin). I used a medium size coffee cup to do the measurements and it was perfect. However, I suggest some changes: I found it hard to shred actual mozzarella, so either you buy shreeded one or you just use cheddar fo the mix and I suggest to add some salt and pepper to the mix. Also, forget about the breadcrumbs on top and use only cheese (parmigiano or mozzarella) instead. Enjoy!

Cupcake Love

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On my way back from a doctor’s appointment yesterday, I passed by my favourite cupcakes place in Vienna: CupCakes Wien is a paradise for cupcake lovers, and girls who love girlish cafes in particular. The founder, Renate Gruber, essentially brought cupcakes to Vienna when opening her first store in 2010; others soon followed due to large success (Albertgasse 17, Josefstädterstraße 17 and also in mumok, and from October to March also in Währingerstrasse 12 and 152). My personal favourite is and has always  been the carrot cake with coconut frosting cupcake, though I also quite like the chocolate-blueberry one (on the picture). However, Renate Gruber’s team also makes incredible cakes, and if you want to learn how to do it yourself, you can sign up for a cupcake-baking or decorating class!

I am not much of a baker myself, but the one thing I do bake is – surprise – cupcakes 🙂

Inspired by an American friend, who used to make the most delicious guiness cupcakes, I started making them myself and eventually I wrote down my preferred way of making them, which I would like to share with you here:

Guiness-Cupcakes with Baileys-Frosting

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

125 ml Guiness, 125 g butter, 30 g cacao powder, 130 g all-purpose flour, 150 g white sugar, 75 g créme-fraîche, 1 egg, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, 1 pinch table salt;

For the frosting: 100g cream cheese (double-fat), 75 g confectioner’s sugar, 125 ml whipping cream, 1-2 tablespoons Baileys, chocolate sprinkles or other decorative elements

Preheat the oven to 180°C (hot air) and prepare cupcake cups (I think silicone cups are most handy, otherwise where necessary grease the cups if you use a tray).

Cut the butter into pieces and heat it in a small soucepan together with the Guiness until it melts. Stir in the cacao powder and whisk for a smooth texture. Then let it cool down.

Take flour, sugar, salt and baking soda and mix them in a large bowl.

Then put créme-fraîche and the egg in another bowl and stir until you receive a creamy consistency. Slowly pour in the Guiness-butter-cacao mix. In a last step, fold in the dry ingredients (flour-sugar mix) and mix well.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into a cake comes out clean. Take out the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool on a rack.

For the frosting, gently whisk the cream cheese until you receive a creamy consistency. Stir in the confectionary sugar. Prepare the whipped cream and then fold in to the chream cheese-sugar mix. Finally, add the Baileys.

Frost the cupcakes with the Baileys-frosting and decorate as you wish.

Enjoy 🙂

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Hello Cider, it is nice to see you

Cider

Ever since I lived in the UK, I love cider. Since I am not a beer drinker, I had to find an alternative drink to have in pubs (wine just isn’t an option there), and the natural choice was cider. Unfortunately in Austria, which is according to most statistics ranked second in beer consumption per capita (107,8 liters, Foodrepublic.com) and even has a similar traditional drink (“Most” which also based on fermented apple juice but not sparkling and less sweet since there is no pure apple juice and no carbon dioxide for a sparkling effect added), cider has been virtually non-existent in supermarkets and also bars, except for in Irish Pubs. Now this has changed. What I thought might have been a summer promotion seems to have to come to stay: different cider varieties from well-established brands Strongbow and Somersby can now be found at the large supermarket chains (Billa, Spar, Zielpunkt) and next to them also our very own Austrian cider brand Goldkehlchen (also available at Wein&Co). Yay – this realisation just made my day!